Sunday, October 22, 2017

If Dr. Josh Lipsitz knew of Maweya Abu Salah, we are certain he would have davened for her remission from cancer. Sadly, the West Bank Arabic woman died in an East Jerusalem hospital.

Her death, and who was to blame for delaying her family from joining her at her bedside, was the focus of a recent Washington Post article on Israel the “occupier” since it was attacked 50 years ago with the full force of the Arab world and emerged miraculously victorious after six days.

The emerging narrative over those years is that Israel is solely responsible for the entirety of Palestinian misfortune. Yet, Israel has returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and “resettled” Gaza. In return, there is a growing ISIS presence now in Sinai. Untold funds, earmarked for Palestinian infrastructure for Gaza, have turned into sophisticated tunnels, with the sole purpose of killing Israeli civilians or military. 

So when a Palestinian woman died of cancer, it was somehow appropriate and convenient for her family to blame Israel for the fact that her children couldn’t be by her side at her death. We are sorry this happened, and it is a tragedy. But security forces have a difficult job, and most if not virtually all Palestinian patients and their families are treated with compassionate care in Israeli hospitals each and every day.

Dr. Josh Lipsitz, a RIETS musmach and former Columbia clinical psychologist, made aliyah with his wife, Lesley, and five children in 2003. Lipsitz is battling a recurrence of stage 4 brain cancer (see editor’s notebook, below). Lipsitz’s story, his incredible spirit, his will to live and his lasting contributions to his Congregation Beth Abraham kehillah and the entire Jewish community, is one of those “stories” that are overshadowed by the quick tendency to judge Israel differently, or as “the occupier.”

Then there is the reality that Lipsitz, whose Hebrew name is Yehoshua Dan ben Naomi, and his family face steep medical bills. His home community, friends and many from all over the country and beyond are responding with an outpouring of support for this wonderful family, and we urge you to continue to help.

The bottom line is cancer does not care if you are a Jew or an Arab, black, white, Asian, etc. Cancer is terrible, and we in our community fight cancer with tefillot and hope. We don’t see the Lipsitz family blaming anyone for their inability to get the right care in Israel. Their response to no appropriate care? They flew to Germany to use experimental treatments in an effort to save Josh’s life. The money wasn’t there, but they could not wait to start the treatments; Josh needs to be saved now and every effort must be taken. The money will have to come, and it will, from his friends and his community of the Jewish nation.   

May Josh Lipsitz, Yehoshua Dan ben Naomi, have a total and complete refuah sheleima!   

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